But Ellul doesn't get into any of that. For Ellul, it's all about "la technique", the supremacy of efficiency at the heart of the technological society, and how every institution is a part of it, how education and the arts function as sociological propaganda, and how the "current affairs man," the supposedly well-informed news junkie is the most propagandized individual of all. For Ellul, it's modern communication and information technologies that are the key to propaganda, and as the digerati have succeeded the literati, it's the folks who are online all the time, keeping up with blogs and tweets and the like, who are the most open to propaganda.
Ellul argues that propaganda in a technological society uses all of the means of communication available in a totalizing and concerted fashion. The only way to avoid being exposed to propaganda is to cut yourself off from the outside world. Otherwise, access to information is openness to propaganda.
Literacy and print may be necessary prerequisites for modern propaganda, but as Neil Postman points out in Technopoly, it's industrialism and Taylorism that are directly linked to the technological society. Unlike Mumford, Ellul was not writing about the history of technology, he was critiquing contemporary society, and his focus was not on specific technologies, but on "la technique," the technological imperative, which is about efficiency over all else. He identified this as a contemporary phenomenon.
Postman, in Technopoly, was presenting an Ellulian perspective. But Mumford himself became more Ellulian in his postwar writings, especially in The Myth of the Machine. I believe they all recognized that literacy and typography are necessary prerequisites for modern propaganda. But necessary prerequisites are not the same as inherent characteristics. Literacy and print are necessary prerequisites for modern science. It doesn't follow that they are inherently scientific. And since modern science is based on honest and open communication and publication, this would lead us into contradiction if these were inherent characteristics and propaganda's manipulative qualities were also inherent characteristics of print media. But there is no contradiction when you understand that they make both deceptive propaganda and honest and open scientific exchange possible.